Michael Shank Racing‘s Detroit weekend did not go to plan, as one of their cars was out before the completion of one lap.
The #60 Ford-Riley of John Pew and Michael Valiante was involved in an opening lap incident, with Pew collecting the championship leading #01 machine. The contact was heavy enough to rule the #60 car out for the day, before the race had even seen one complete lap.
“I just came around, fighting and everything, minding my own business, around the bend and the No. 01 was there,” said Pew. “Just like that, not even half a second. I didn’t even know who it was, it happened so fast. I feel bad for those guys too. I don’t know how it happened, but it messed up both of our races. I’m really sorry for the team because we had a great car today.”
Pew’s team-mates in the #6 car also saw their fare share of misfortune, with Gustavo Yacaman being called in for a stop and hold penalty for the accident which caused Pew’s retirement.
Following the penalty, Yacaman and, after the halfway stage, Antonio Pizzonia started a damage limitation mission. Just as Pizzonia had made it into a battle with the leading pack, he was spun after contact from behind, ruining the strong work from the two Michael Shank Racing drivers.
“It was a bad race for us, but there’s actually good things that happened this weekend and I’m really proud of how the guys took the cars from being just OK to being really good by the time the race came around,” said team owner Mike Shank. “Gustavo had a fantastic drive. He came out of the pits after the penalty almost a lap down and he pulled a gap to 5 or 15-seconds at the end of his stint.
“There’s nothing John could have done, but he improved so much from last year and, as usual, Valiante was a part of that progression and I just feel horrible that we couldn’t give Valiante over three races any better result or opportunity,” he continued. “But he did exactly what I knew he’d do, and I’m grateful for that. The takeaways are that the cars are good, the guys worked their butts off, we had some highs and lows and we’ve got to move on to the home race. We can’t be more excited about our new sponsor and getting to go race at the home track in just two weeks.”